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Thread: Gelatin shot capsules

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Gelatin shot capsules

    I've seen this referenced on forums several times, but never a concise report on how they work. I decided to try it myself: cut wads from cheap plastic containers, loaded 3gr promo shotshell powder (I loaded as if it were 700-X, which some of it almost certainly was; production loads will use known powder), placed 8 grams of promo shotshell shot (~130gr, or to the top of the .357 case), and snugged the smaller half of a 000 gelatin capsule around the shot (believe large half will be useful in larger caliber projects). Overall, would say this worked well: had to slit the capsules with sharp scissors to just under the curved end since they measure ~.360"+ and do not slide into the brass easily, but did not need any crimp to keep the capsule secure. Any thoughts? I know that loading with unknown powder is a big no-no but figured that a mid-range .38 load in a .357 gun would likely be safe. Will report back after testing, hopefully later this week.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    8 grains of promo is more than seems used in most instances. May be good to reduce the load. High speed shotloads may be unwise.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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    Please post a picture of your load
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    Where do you find empty capsules and is there a size chart?

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    The load is 3 grains of unknown promo powder, 8 grams of promo shot. To be clear, I am 90% sure the powder in one of the promo shells was 700-X, but not sure about the other shells. Given that 700-X is about the fastest powder available, I loaded all as if they were 700-X.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A photo of the 10 shells I have loaded thus far. I intend to shoot them on Friday, and will report back at that time.

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    A photo of a full capsule and one I have separated into the two halves. The taller half is smaller in diameter and used for this project; I believe the shorter half will be useful to retain shot in 41/44/45 shotshells I have future plans for. Capsule size here: http://capsuleconnection.com/capsule-sizing-info/ ; I searched around for capsules for sale and found the best deal from an eBay seller of nutritional supplements: around 22$ for 1000 capsules shipped.

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    A (out of focus) photo showing where I cut the capsule to allow a friction fit in the .357 cases; having tried to shake these apart to change the amount of shot, I would say they will certainly stand up to a little recoil, although they might make a mess if subjected to recoil from repeated full-power magnum loads. The intended purpose here is an inexpensive single-loaded shot round for pest control on the farm.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Perhaps you may want to reread your first post to see where I got that impression. 3'grains is fine.


    ....placed 8 grams of Promo shotshell shot.......

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Given the gelatin will probably not survive acceleration forces, I see a fair amount of leading per shot in your future.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35remington View Post
    Given the gelatin will probably not survive acceleration forces, I see a fair amount of leading per shot in your future.
    I doubt you will have a leading problem. I've used the method where you place a card on top of the powder, add shot, then place a card on top of that and crimp the card in place. So there is no protection between the shot and the barrel. No issues to date.
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    I understand where the confusion about the load came from, but if you read carefully, you'll see that I distinguished between the powder and the shot load, and gave the shot load in both grams and grains. I'll hopefully know about the leading situation tomorrow, I intend to try these in both a revolver and a single shot rifle.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    In the 45C I use a 410 shot sleeve sized to hold about an oz of shot.I invert a plain base gas check and use a small roll crimp to hold it all in place.I have used this load to kill squirrels out to about 20 to 25 feet out of a 5.5" Ruger Black Hawk.No leading,I think the shot sleeve prevents the leading.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Nice work NikA. A very light crimp should hold the capsule if you do get some issues with recoil. Filling with rice or used tumbling media would make a nice "bee" load and the capsule makes it easy to distinguish what is loaded.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  12. #12
    This is an intriguing idea. eBay, at least on the UK site, is full of them. There must be a lot of hypochondria about. Note that there is also a slightly smaller diameter in the other half.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsul...piece_capsules

    I doubt if they would either require slitting or fail to protect the bore from leading. It could hardly be both. I think melted wax should give adequate adhesion in the case. In a revolver it isn't like you are going to get it hot, or load to recoil levels that risk dementia pugilistica or shifting of the shot.

    The complete capsules, in large sizes, would be good to speed up the use of muzzle-loaders. The No.12, a size which would make your eyes water if it wasn't described as veterinary, should be fine for my 24ga. breech-loader, which went from Belgium to Australia and probably stayed almost mint due to someone getting home before finding that 20ga. cartridges didn't fit.

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    Results from this test: capsules did result in some leading, but this may have been due to a dud. I will be switching to cardboard wads over the powder. Leading was confined to about 6 inches in front of the chamber and was easily brushed out. Spread was about 9 inches at 10 feet and nearly 18" at 15 feet, fired from a .357 rifle. Didn't have a bunch of time to test but I am satisfied for proof of concept and will continue to develop this load.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by NikA View Post
    Results from this test: capsules did result in some leading, but this may have been due to a dud. I will be switching to cardboard wads over the powder. Leading was confined to about 6 inches in front of the chamber and was easily brushed out. Spread was about 9 inches at 10 feet and nearly 18" at 15 feet, fired from a .357 rifle. Didn't have a bunch of time to test but I am satisfied for proof of concept and will continue to develop this load.
    It might be that slitting the capsules permitted shot to touch the bore. You don't mention how even the pattern was, but I think people exaggerate the risk of a doughnut pattern with a hole in the middle in a rifle. The shot all spin in spirals of different radii, all the way to zero in the middle, so they experience different centrifugal force. The capsule ought to reduce fliers outside the main pattern, caused by the rifling deforming the shot.
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 04-25-2017 at 10:37 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy WickedColt's Avatar
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    This is awesome! I never really thought about the possibilities but they are endless!
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check